Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanotechnology could save the ozone layer

30.01.2003


Whilst experimenting with nanospheres and perfluorodecalin, a liquid used in the production of synthetic blood, researchers at Germany’s University of Ulm have stumbled across a phenomenon that could ultimately help remove ozone-harming chemicals from the atmosphere. The perfluorodecalin, against all expectations, was taken up by a water-based suspension of 60 nm diameter polystyrene particles.



The scientists believe that this occurred because nanoscopic perfluorodecalin droplets became encapsulated by self-assembled polystyrene nanospheres. Perfluorodecalin has very similar properties to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the inert liquids that are known to destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer. And the Ulm team reckons that aerosol particle-carrying water droplets or ice crystals in clouds may be able to collect up chlorofluorocarbons in the same way, eventually returning them harmlessly to Earth as rain, hail or snow.

"I realized that I had developed a useful model system for the simulation of microphysical processes in the stratosphere," Andrei Sommer of the University of Ulm told nanotechweb.org. "In particular, for [simulating] the very complicated interplay between cloud droplets, nanoscopic aerosols emitted by man-made and natural sources, and chlorofluorocarbons - the principal ozone killers."


The solid aerosols that arise from urban and industrial sources, for example petrol and diesel particles, are roughly the same size as the polystyrene nanospheres used in this experiment.

"Nanoscale aerosols - which are also accused of suppressing rain and reducing the amount of sun reaching the Earth’s surface - could in fact be helpful in reducing the stratospheric concentrations of ozone killers," added Sommer.

Sommer says that if tests confirm the predictions from the simple model system, the result could be a practical strategy to stop, or possibly even repair, one of the two potentially most destructive global problems caused by mankind. He reckons scientists could use space technology to carry large amounts of specially designed non-toxic nanoscale particles into the heart of the ozone hole.

In the short term, Sommer says it’s worth optimizing the properties of such nanoscale particles - for example, aerosol size, chemical composition and solubility - while reducing the cost. Then it’s a case of encouraging international space agencies to begin airborne experiments.

Back on Earth, meanwhile, the perfluorodecalin-based nanosphere suspension research could also have applications in nanopatterning and biofunctionalization techniques for biomaterials.

The scientists reported their work in Nano Letters.

Joanne Aslett | alfa
Further information:
http://nanotechweb.org/articles/news/2/1/16/1

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Making Oceans Plastic Free - Project tackles the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans
31.05.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

nachricht Nitrogen Oxides Emissions: Traffic Dramatically Underestimated as Major Polluter
31.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>